Lakers Extend Jarred Vanderbilt’s Contract Despite Playoff Struggles

Los Angeles Lakers Sign $48 Million Extension for Forward

In an unexpected move, the Los Angeles Lakers have just made a significant commitment by extending the contract of power forward Jarred Vanderbilt, even though his role in the team’s rotation seemed uncertain following a lackluster performance in the recent playoffs.

Klutch Sports CEO and close friend of LeBron James, Rich Paul, along with Erik Ruiz, Vanderbilt’s agent, have announced that the 6’9″ veteran has signed a fully-guaranteed four-year contract extension worth $48 million to remain with the Lakers. This extension includes a player option for the fourth season, extending through 2027-28.

At 24 years old, Vanderbilt is currently in the final year of his existing three-year deal, earning $4.6 million for the upcoming season.

Despite his playoff struggles, the Lakers evidently place a high value on what Jarred Vanderbilt brings defensively, particularly during the 2022-23 regular season when he joined the team midway through the season.

However, it’s essential to acknowledge that Vanderbilt’s performance in the postseason left much to be desired, resulting in him being benched too late and replaced by Rui Hachimura in the Lakers’ starting lineup. Throughout the Lakers’ journey to the 2023 playoffs, Vanderbilt’s playing time decreased significantly, dropping from 24 to 16.5 minutes per game. During his 15 playoff appearances, including 13 starts, he averaged 4.6 points, shooting at a 40% field goal rate, along with 3.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.8 blocks, and 0.7 steals per game. Astonishingly, in the one game Hachimura started in place of Vanderbilt during Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets, Vanderbilt didn’t see any playing time, and it resulted in the team’s closest loss of the playoffs.

During the offseason, the Lakers re-signed Rui Hachimura to a three-year, $51 million contract, made a shrewd move by bringing in versatile forward Taurean Prince at a bargain rate, acquired power forward/center Christian Wood for a veteran’s minimum salary (a substantial reduction from Wood’s $14.3 million salary with the Dallas Mavericks last season), and took calculated risks on forward Cam Reddish and center Jaxson Hayes.

Given these roster additions and considering Vanderbilt’s underwhelming playoff performance, it raises the question of whether the Lakers’ decision to extend his contract at this juncture was necessary. Perhaps waiting until the next summer to assess Vanderbilt’s integration into the team after a season might have been a more prudent approach, especially given his struggles later in the playoffs.

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Gary Lee

Gary Lee, a mainstay at LA Sports Report, is not just a sports writer; he's a veritable institution in the realm of sports journalism. With an extensive and illustrious career that boasts stints with notable platforms like Sports Illustrated, Gary has consistently showcased an uncanny knack for capturing the essence of the game, regardless of the sport. His prowess isn't limited to the written word alone; Gary's vast experience extends to creating and curating sports websites, providing fans with in-depth analysis, up-to-date news, and captivating stories. For readers keen on insights into the Clippers, Dodgers, Galaxy, Kings, LAFC, Lakers, Rams, UCLA, and USC, Gary is your go-to guy.
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